deed

The Washingtons arrive from Goldsboro.

This Indenture made the twenty ninth day of December in the year one thousand eight hundred & sixty six (1866) between Richard H Blount of the county of Wilson & State of North Carolina of the first part & Jerry Washington of the Town of Goldsboro of the County of Wayne & State of North Carolina of the second part. Witnesseth that the said party of the first part for & in consideration of one hundred dollars $100 lawful money of the United States to himself paid before the delivery hereof, hath bargained, sold & by these presents doth grant & convey to the said party of the second part his heirs & assigns forever all of a certain piece or parcel of land lying & being in the county of Wilson & State of North Carolina which is known & described as follows to Wit beginning at the line of Arthur D Farmer in the County road to Goldsboro near the Town of Wilson & running with the line of said road seventy yards to a corner thence at a right angle from said corner directly back one hundred & forty yards to a corner thence again forming another right angle & running in a straight line with parallel with the aforesaid Goldsboro Road to the aforesaid Arthur D Farmers line Thence with street line back to the beginning forming a parallelogram in figure & containing by estimate ten acres, together with all the appurtenances & all the estate, title & interest of the said party of the first part therein, and the said party of the first part doth hereby covenant & agree with the said party of the second part that at the time of the delivery thereof, the said party the first parties ts the lawful owner of the premises above granted & seized thereof in fee simple absolute & that hw will warrant & defend the above granted premises in the quiet & peaceable possession of the said party of the second part his heirs & assigns forever. In testimony whereof I have hereunto set my hand & seal This 29th day of December one Thousand eight hundred & sixty six  R.H. Blount

Signed sealed & delivered in the presence of C. Lee Parker, Henry E. Benton

——

Newly freed Jerry Washington and Jane Washington registered their four-year cohabitation in Wayne County in 1866. Just before the year ended, Jerry Washington bought ten acres of land just outside Wilson town limits and moved his family 25 miles north.

Six years later, Washington paid $1000 for another ten acres on the south side of town.

Deed book 2, page 238, Register of Deeds office, Wilson.

Jerry Washington buys near town.

State of North Carolina, Wilson County  }

Know all men by these presents that for and Consideration of the sum of one Thousand Dollars to me in hand paid the receipt of which is hereby acknowledged doth grant bargain sold and conveyed and doth hereby bargain and sell and by these presents convey unto Jerry Washington his heirs administrators and assigns all that certain piece or parcel of land situate in the State of North Carolina & County of Wilson, near the Town of Wilson and bounded as follows Beginning at a stake on the Barefoot roads and street leading from the African Church to said Road thence with said Road to Jerry Washingtons corner thence with said Washington line Four hundred and twenty feet to a stake thence Two hundred and ten Feet to R.W. Taylors line Thence with said Taylors line to the line of the W&W R.R. Line thence with said R.R. line to Allen Tyson Corner thence with said Tysons line to Washington Suggs Corner thence with said Suggs line to the street Thence with said street to the beginning said to Contain Ten acres Be the same more or less to have and to hold the same forever and I do hereby warrant and defend the title to my whole Interest in said piece or parcel fo land to the said Jerry Washington his heirs and assigns against the claims of any and all persons whatsoever In testimony whereof I hereunto set my hand and seal this the 11th day of Oct 1872   W.M. Gay, Mary Gay

——

This deed, the second filed in Wilson County by Samuel H. Vick‘s future father-in-law, Jerry Washington, is notable for its reference to “the African Church.” Though Barefoot Road has not been definitely identified the reference to the church and to the Wilmington & Weldon Rail Road suggest that this parcel was located near modern Hines and Pender Streets.

Deed book 23, page 486, Register of Deeds Office, Wilson.

Tate purchases a lot.

On 29 October 1892, Hardy Tate purchased for $700 from George D. and Ella M. Green a 1/3-acre lot on Green Street between Green and H.C. Phillips.

The house Tate erected on this lot burned to the ground under suspicious circumstances shortly after completion. Tate later built this house, probably on the same lot.

Deed book 31, page 342, Register of Deeds Office, Wilson.

Washington Suggs’ first real estate transaction.

State of North Carolina Wilson County

Know all men by these presents that for and in consideration of the Sum of Sixty dollars to me in hand paid the receipt of which is hereby acknowledged that I Virginia C Edwards of the State and county aforesaid hath bargained sold and conveyed and doth hereby bargain sell and convey unto Washington Sugg of the county and State aforesaid to him and his heirs and assigns a certain piece or parcel of land situate in the County of Wilson State of North Carolina and bounded as follows to wit beginning at a stake Allen Tyson corner thence with Thomas Hadley line two hundred & ten feet to a stake Calvin Blounts corner thence with said Calvin Blounts line two hundred & fifty two feet to a Stake corner grave yard Lot thence with said grave yard lot two hundred and ten feet to a stake on street leading to the African church thence with said street two hundred and fifty two feet to the beginning to have and to hold to him the said Washington Sugg his heirs and assigns in fee simple forever and I Virginia C Edwards for myself my heirs and assigns do hereby warrant and defend the title of the aforesaid land unto the said Washington Sugg his hairs and assigns free from the lawful claim of any and all persons whatsoever. In testimony whereof I hereunto set my hand and seal this 23rd day of March AD 1870  /s/ V.C. Edwards

Witness M.J. Edwards

Received and registered 22 August 1870 …

——

This deed is remarkable not only as the first filed by Washington Suggs, just five years after his emancipation in Greene County, but also for its reference to the “graveyard lot” and “the African church.”

If the graveyard lot is, as it surely appears, the cemetery later known as Oakdale, this deed pushes the founding date of that burial ground back more than 25 years.

The African church appears to be the church later known as Jackson Chapel (and later still, after a merger, as Jackson Chapel First Missionary Baptist Church), which was located on Barnes Street just off Pender Street (then Stantonsburg Street), a block south of Nash Street. If so, this deed pushes back the date of the building of the congregation’s first edifice.

Sugg’s new neighbor, Calvin Blount, was also African-American and formerly enslaved. His will, drafted in 1909, contains this provision — “Fourth: To my beloved sons Wright Blount and Tillman Blount, whom I have not heard from in many years — I do hereby give and bequeath to them to share and share alike my other lot of land on the edge of the Town of Wilson, State and County aforesaid, adjoining the lands of G.W. Sugg, Cater Sugg, and the Colored Cemetery, containing about one acre.”

Deed book 4, page 135, Register of Deeds Office, Wilson.

 

Jones buys a mule.

On 17 December 1897, Thomas A. Jones purchased a bay mare mule from John Y. Moore for $75 on credit. Until Jones paid the full purchase price, title remained in Moore. On 7 January 1900, he satisfied his debt.

——

In the 1870 census of Old Fields township, Wilson County: farm laborer Jno. A. Jones, 22; wife Susan, 19;  children Thomas, 2, and Jesse B., 7 months; and Rosett Boykin, 10.

In the 1880 census of Old Fields township, Wilson County: Dempsy Powell, 52, farmer; wife Sallie, 46; daughter Susan A. Jones, 27, and her husband John A. Jones, 34; their children Thomas A., 13, Jessee B., 11, James A., 7, Celia C., 5, Sallie C., 4, and John A., 1; and W.D. Lucus, 21, laborer.

In the 1900 census of Old Fields township, Wilson County: farmer Thomas A. Jones, 32; [second] wife Mary, 25; and children Wesley, 11, Earnist, 9, William P., 7, Locus C., 7, Eppie, 3, Bell L., 5, Milbry, 3, and Roxey, 6 months, plus brother Sylvester Jones, 13.

In the 1910 census of Old Fields township, Wilson County: Thomas Jones, 43; wife Ida, 36; and children Earnest, 19, William, 17, Bettie, 15, Milbrey, 12, and Maoma, 21, and grandchildren Wiley J., 3, and Elroy Jones, 3 months.

In the 1920 census of Old Fields township, Wilson County: on Sims Road, farmer Thomas A. Jones, 51; wife Mary I., 45; children Milbry T., 23, Andrew, 19, Leona, 17, James H., 14, Ollie, 9, Ida May, 7, Paul H., 5, and Jim Lawrence, 3; and granddaughter Bettie Lee, 4.

In the 1930 census of Crossroads township, Wilson County: farmer Thomas Jones, 61; wife Ida, 54; and children Leona, 27, Ollie, 19, Ida M., 17, Paul, 15, James, 13, and Willie, 8.

Thomas A. Jones died 20 February 1925 in Lucama, Springhill township, Wilson County. Per his death certificate, he was born 14 May 1868 in Wilson County to John Jones and Susie Powell; was a widower; had been married to Ida Jones; was a farmer. Informant was Earnest Jones of Bailey, N.C.

Deed book 46, page 90, Register of Deeds Office, Wilson.

Cemetery lot.

In 1898, Rev. Owen L.W. Smith purchased from the Town of Wilson, in the person of Mayor John F. Bruton, lot 7, F Street, Section North of Oakdale Cemetery (col’d). Oakdale was the mysterious cemetery of Cemetery Street, south of the business district.

This document raises so many questions:

  • Oakdale was a city-owned property. When was it developed? Where are records?
  • Where is “the official plat of said cemetery”?
  • O.L.W. Smith’s family, including members who died shortly after this plot was purchased, are now buried in the Masonic cemetery. Where they, and the countless other burials at Oakdale, exhumed?
  • Why and when did the cemetery close?

Deed Book 46, page 348, Register of Deeds Office, Wilson.

Nineteen and a half acres.

Know all men by these presents that we Thomas Stancil and Elizabeth Stancil of the said Thomas Stancil of Wilson County and State of North Carolina in consideration of the sum of one hundred and seven dollars to us paid by Benjamin Artis & Farby Artis of the County of Wilson & State of North Carolina the receipt whereof we do hereby acknowledged do hereby give grant bargain sell and convey unto the said Benjamine & Farby Artis their heirs and assigns forever a certain piece or parcel of land situated in the County and State aforesaid adjoining the lands of Gordin Thomas Penny Woodard and others and begins at a stake in Penny Woodard line and Runs S 48 W 108 po[les] with said Woodards line to a stake thence S  25 3/4 E 60 po[les] along the path to the beginning containing nineteen and a half acres More or less to have and to hold the same & the said Benjamine & Farbey Artis their heirs and assigns to them and to [illegible] and behoof forever and we the said Thomas Stancil & wife Elizabeth Stancil for our selves our heirs Executors and administrators shall warrant and defend the same to the said Benjamine & Farby Artis their heirs and assigns forever against the lawful claimes and [illegible] of all persons we hereunto signs our names and fix our seals this May the 12 day AD 1872.

Witness B.F. Briggs        /s/ Thomas Stancil, Elizabeth Stancil

——

In 1997, the Wilson County Genealogical Society published Some Black Families of Wilson County, North Carolina as part of its series, The Hugh B. Johnston Jr. Working Papers. Benjamin and Phariba Artis’ family were among those about whom Johnston left detailed notes based both on records and family and local lore.

Here are Johnston’s notes, with my comments in brackets:

The Old Picture of Benjamin and Phariba Artis

This picture, taken at Wilson about 1895, portrays two former slaves who became highly respected citizens of Gardner’s township in Wilson County. I borrowed the picture from my cousin Robert Edwin Stott of Wilson County. [Unfortunately, no copy of the photo is included.] Benjamin “Ben” Artis (1824-October 2, 1905) was a native of Greene County, it is said. About 1849 he married Phariba Woodard, daughter of London and Venus Woodard who were slaves of James Bullock Woodard. After “freedom” the Rev. London Woodard became the founder and first pastor of London’s Primitive Baptist Church which still exists on the eastern outskirts of Wilson. The two Artises were longtime members of the Oaken Grove Primitive Baptist Church. Ben’s parents were probably Solomon Williams and Vicey Artis. [No, they were not his parents. This appears to be a conjecture based on information I provided Johnston in 1988 about my ancestor, Adam T. Artis, who was in fact Solomon and Vicey’s son. As there is no evidence of Benjamin Artis’ freedom prior to 1866, I believe that he was born to an enslaved mother and a free father from whom he took his surname.]

“Aunt” Phariba was a “granny woman” or midwife and was greatly beloved by both whites and blacks. She was born in 1828 and died on September 30, 1905. She and her husband were buried in the London Woodard graveyard on land that was purchased before the Civil War by a free woman of color [Penny Lassiter] who became the second wife of the Rev. London Woodard.

“Aunt Phariba” assisted not only the colored families in the neighborhood but also a number of the best white families in Gardner’s township. Her services were frequently required in nursing, and she was in much demand where there was a need of domestic help of superior quality. She lived a long and useful life and died much lamented by her numerous family and friends.

——

In the 1870 census of Gardners township, Wilson County: Benj’n Artis, 46, farm laborer; wife Phebee, 42; and children and grandchildren Mary, 2, Julia, 6, Sarah, 17, Debby, 18, and Benjamin, 20. Benjamin reported owning $100 in real estate and $125 in personal property.

On February 1870, Benja Artis, son of Benj. Artis and Ferebee Artis, married Ferebee Barnes, daughter of Silas and Rosa Barnes, at Silas Barnes’. [Yes, Ben and Fereby Artis’ son Benjamin Jr. married a woman named Fereby.]

In the 1880 census of Gardners township, Wilson County: Benn Artis Sr., 54; wife Pheraba, 45; daughters Judia, 18, and Mary, 14; and grandson John, 1. Next door: Benn Artis, Jr., 31, Pheraba, 3o, and Harett, 1.

In the 1900 census of Gardners township, Wilson County: Benjamin Artis, 76, wife Faber, 74, and grandson Wylie, 10. Fereby reported that only five of her 15 children were living.

The neighbors referred to in the deed were Jordan Thomas and Fereby’s step-mother Penny Lassiter Woodard.

Deed Book 6, page 255, Wilson County Register of Deeds Office, Wilson, North Carolina.

 

One acre, more or less.

This Indenture made and entered into this the 28th day of Sept., A.D. 1877 between R.J. Taylor and wife Sallie A. Taylor of the first part and Daniel Vick  of the second part all of the County of Wilson & State of North Carolina Witnesseth, that for & in consideration of the sum of four hundred dollars the receipt of which is hereby acknowledged, hath bargained, Sold & by these presents the party of the first part does give grant bargain sell and deliver to the party of the second part his heirs & assigns a certain piece of land near the Town of Wilson and the Barefoot road beginning on said road at Spencer Gays corner then with said road to the Peter Taylor lot owned by G.W. Blount Est. Say 328 feet then with said Blount Lot to the old Edwin Barnes line then South with said Edwin Barnes line to Ester McGown line say 248 feet then with Ester McGown & Spencer Gay lines to the beginning containing one acre more or less To have and to hold to the party of the Second part his heirs and assigns forever.

And the party of the first for themselves their heirs & assigned warrant and defend the title to above lot forever Given under our hands and seals the the … /s/ R.J. Taylor, S.A. Taylor

——

This deed is Daniel Vick’s first recorded purchase of property.

The 1880 census of Wilson township, Wilson County, shows several of the families named above in close proximity “south of the plank road,” which is above called the Barefoot road and is now Nash Street. It’s hard to say precisely where Daniel Vick’s property was, but it safe to bet that it was just east of modern Manchester Street, an area then well outside of city limits.

1880

Spencer Gay, son of Anthony and Catherine Gay, married Adeline Barnes, daughter of Baalam and Jinny Barnes, on 9 August 1868 in Wilson County. Spencer is listed in the 1880 mortality schedule for Wilson, Wilson County, having died of consumption that February. He was a brick yard laborer.

Peter Taylor and family are listed next door to Washington Suggs in the 1870 census of Wilson township, Wilson County. Peter seems to have died before the 1900 census was taken, but his wife Clarissa lived well into the next century. Clarissy Taylor of 522 Church Street, Wilson, died 16 September 1922. Her death certificate reports that she was 85 years old, that she had been born in Wilson County, and that her father had been Dempsey Cotton. Mark Cotton was informant.

Deed Book 22, page 439, Wilson County Register of Deeds Office, Wilson, North Carolina.

A parcel on the corner of Pine and Lee.

George D. Green & Wife to Mike Taylor. Deed.

State of North Carolina, County of Wilson    }

This Deed Made this the 11th day of February, 1896, by George D. Green, and wife, Ella M. Green, parties of the first part, and Mike Taylor, party of the second part, all of the town of Wilson, County and State aforesaid, Witnesseth: —

That the said parties of the first part for an in consideration of the Sun of Five Hundred And Fifty Dollars to them in hand (the receipt whereof is hereby acknowledged) have bargained and Sold, and do by these presents bargain, Sell and convey unto the Said party of the Second part, his heirs and assigns, that lot or parcel of land lying and being Situate in the town of Wilson, on the corner of Pine and Lee Streets, County and State aforesaid fronting on Pine Street about 143 feet and Lee Street about 83 feet, it being the lot purchased from Warren Woodard and wife by George D. Green, To Have And To Hold Said lot of land unto the Said party of the Second part, his heirs and assigns, forever. And the said George W. Green for himself and his heirs doth covenant to and with the Said Mike Taylor that he will forever warrant and defend the title to said land against the lawful claimer claims of all other persons whatsoever.

In Testimony whereof the Said parties of the first part have hereunto Set their hands and Seals, the day and year first above written.

Witness: Geo. D. Green, Ella M. Green

——

The lot George Green sold Mike Taylor was situated on the corner of Pine and Lee, out toward Maplewood cemetery on what was then Wilson’s western edge.  In the 1900 census of the town of Wilson, Wilson County, neither streets nor house numbers are listed, but it’s reasonable to assume that the Taylors — Mike, a drayman; his wife Rachel, who did washing; and their children Rodgrick [Roderick], Maggie, Mattie, Maddie, Bertha E., and Hennie G. — were living on the lot, and the 1908-1909 Wilson city directory lists Taylor, a driver, at 114 West Lee.

The 1910 census of Wilson paints a clearer picture of the little enclave in which the Taylors lived. Though he did not note house numbers, the censustaker inked “Lee St” along the edge of Sheet 27A of his survey of Enumeration District 116. The page records 50 residents, of whom 30, living in five consecutive households, were black. With the Taylors were the families of Jim and Annie Parrott, John and Cora Norfleet, John and Pattie Lassiter, Sam and Maggie Ennicks [Ennis], and Frank and Lizzie Bullock. The men worked a variety of jobs: a blacksmith, two odd jobs laborers, a gardener, a drayman. The women were cooks or laundresses.

The censustaker’s path is not clear. The Taylors were on the corner at 114 West Lee. According to the 1908-09 directory, the Bullocks were in the next block at 202 West Lee. The Ennises — Maggie was Mike and Rachel’s daughter — lived in the small house built on the back of the Taylor lot at 409 North Pine. In the 1912-13 city directory, Pattie Lassiter is listed at 200 West Lee, but John Norfleet was at 306 E. Barnes, on the other side of downtown. The Parrotts are found in neither directory. In any case, it is clear that these families formed a tiny cluster, and this cluster was unique in its surroundings. On the enumeration sheets before and after that listing the Taylors and their neighbors, the residents are overwhelmingly white.

Prior to Samuel H. Vick’s 1906 division of Rountree Place into the neighborhood now seen as the heart of East Wilson (more on that later), African-Americans lived dispersed across the southern half of town. For most of the 20th century, however, Wilson maintained a well-defined residential segregation pattern, with black neighborhoods confined to the south and east side of the Atlantic Coast Line (later Seaboard Coast Line, now CSX) railroad. The Daniel Hill community, a mile or so west of downtown, was the well-known exception. For first quarter of the century, however, African-Americans claimed another tiny toehold, now forgotten, just west of the tracks at Pine and Lee.

The 1913 Sanborn map, the earliest detailing the neighborhood, reveals a relatively large one-story frame house with an L-shaped porch wrapping around its west front corner. By time the 1922 Sanborn map was drawn, the city’s street numbering system had changed, and the address was now 108 West Lee.  The Taylors had also added a small porch to the back of the house.

Page_6

Rachel and Mike Taylor remained at 108 West Lee until their deaths in 1925 and 1927. The address is now a vacant lot.

Deed Book 50, page 14, Wilson County Register of Deeds Office, Wilson NC.